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Published: September 8, 2011
(London)Dismissing rumours of political motives, the Archbishop of Canterbury has made a request to meet the country’s president Robert Mugabe on his upcoming trip.
It was announced the Bishop Rowan William’s aim for visiting Zimbabwe has nothing to do with politics and is a purely religious one, despite bitter issues parishioners await to inform him which have to do with the ousted ZANU PF aligned bishop Bishop Kunonga (pictured).
“The aim of the trip as a whole is a pastoral visit and it’s to show solidarity with Anglicans there, that’s really the aim of the trip,” Dr Williams’ spokeswoman was quoted saying.
“[Dr Williams] will meet with bishops, clergy, and is going to be looking at church development initiatives in all three countries.
The Foreign Office said: “The archbishop’s visit is in a pastoral capacity as the head of the Anglican Church – he is not a representative of the government.
“The situation of Anglicans in Zimbabwe has worsened in recent months and as head of the church, his desire to support them is understandable.”
An explanation for Williams’ visit comes as his visit became a major discussion among supporters of President Robert Mugabe who speculated the possibility of political motives as a cause for the visit. The Anglican church’s archbishop of York, Sentamu recently cut his dog collar as swore never to wear the ‘holy’ collar again until Mugabe is removed from office, a move which ZANU PF has interpreted as depicting regime change rather than religious fevor. In January, Williams wrote an open letter to President Mugabe in which he urged him to “put an end to these abuses forthwith”, adding: “We are convinced that the unmerited, unjust, and unlawful persecution of the members of the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe damages further the good name and reputation of the Republic of Zimbabwe and results in untold and unnecessary additional suffering for many thousands of people.”
He will also make stops in Malawi and Zambia as part of “a pastoral visit to show support for the Anglican Church there,” said Marie Papworth, media director at Lambeth Palace in London.
Williams’ Mugabe-meeting request has not been responded to, it was reported on the BBC website.
The Archbishop’s visit also comes as the ZANU PF aligned Bishop Kunonga was recently excommunicated from the Anglican Church in Africa after several reported violent actions, including allegedly encouraging physical attacks on people attending Sunday services under the direction of the legitimate Archbishop of Harare.
The ZANU PF aligned Kunonga has with support from the police also siezed a number of church properties and attempted to force belivers to follow him.
On Friday, the state media carreid a frontpage screaming headline titled: “Kunonga asserts authority”. In the story it was reported that Nolbert Kunonga had ahead of William’s visit, evicted a priest, headmasters and senior nursing staff at Daramombe Mission near Chivhu.
It was reported Kunonga was using a Supreme Court judgment that allegedly ‘gives custody of the property to Kunonga.’
It was also reported Kunonga was on his way to sieze the Bernard Mzeki shrine in Marondera, St Johns Chikwaka Mission and Shearley Cripps Children’s Home in Murehwa using the same Supreme Court order. In an interview on Wednesday, Bishop Kunonga was quoted stating that the takeover of Daramombe Mission was just the beginning of a bigger process that would see him taking custody of all the Anglican properties dotted across the country. (ZimEye/BBC)Tweet